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Breaking news: Record labels can hurt music

post brought to you by: dyson

jon-fionaThe control that record labels have is no new news. It’s been a fight that’s been going on for years and we continue to reach that breaking point of making some sort of shift with it.

Many artists have and will try to rid themselves of this mess that major labels put them into. But to be successful and actually make a buck in the music industry as a musician means you need to be signed to a great record label. (if you’re looking my preference is Nonesuch and here’s to hoping this model changes)

The best case I can think of (and the one I spent all morning harping on) is the release of Fiona Apple’s ‘Extraordinary Machine’. There’s a whole story behind the release of this record. I can’t get all the facts straight because clearly I was not a part of it… But from what I gather it was a record Fiona wanted to give more credit to Jon than Epic Records wanted to. I’ve heard it was meant to be a Fiona Apple/Jon Brion release but Epic would not allow it.

This kinda sucks because I’ve seen Jon and Fiona perform together and they are true musicians. To put it bluntly? They don’t fuck around. Anything they would spend a significant amount of time on is something I would love to hear. Thanks to the internet, this is possible.

I’ve given both the major label release of ‘Extraordinary Machine’ a listen and I’ve given the ‘Jon Brion’ version a good listen as well. (Thank you internet pirates our there). The ‘Jon Brion’ version is hard to say it’s better. But shit. It’s better. Who am I kidding. Why is it better? Because it was two brilliant minds putting together a record they wanted to. The problem is that the record label thought it was something that wouldn’t sell. And you know what? They might have been right.

You might be wondering why I harp on such an old release. (an old release meaning 2005) But it’s one that started a trend of labels taking over great releases of true artistic albums. Why would they meddle with such brilliance? You have an artist like Fiona who could command an army with her voice and talent. You have an artist like Jon Brion who could rival Mozart with his musical brilliance. Why the FUCK would you get in between that? It’s because they thought the general buying public wouldn’t get it after Fiona had been gone for so many years.

‘Extraordinary Machine’ did well with it’s sales. But so did Kelley Clarkson at the same time. Do they fall into the same musical class? Not at all. ‘Extraordinary Machine’ sales fell while the Jon Brion version gained popularity. So thank you Epic Records or whoever was behind the whole thing. Please officially release the real version. The intelligent listening audience will thank you.

Take the time to compare the two versions below. I can go on and on about the differences but it’s up to you to decide what you like. That’s what music is all about.

Fiona Apple – Not About Love

Fiona Apple/Jon Brion – Not About Love

2 Responses to “Breaking news: Record labels can hurt music”

  1. Ryan says:

    Record Labels and greedy Middle Men have been hurting musicians and promoting the wrong acts (those that are potentially more profitable and easier to control than those with talent, integrity, etc) forever. But, the industry must exist in some capacity because it’s mere existence (minus the exploitation part) helps bands by offering platforms… a real catch-22.

    • dyson says:

      I agree there needs to be some sort of industry in place. Musicians need to focus on being creative and performing and shouldn’t have to be brilliant marketers or promoters.

      But after a random listen of Ryan Seacrest count down the Top 40 this morning on the radio I was disgusted as to what the ‘industry’ is out there promoting. Honestly? Every song was close to making me ill.
      Those are not the records I want to buy.

      I use autotune frequently but AS IT WAS INTENDED. Are we going to look back (or not even need to) and wonder what the HELL record producers were thinking by using that as an ‘effect’? It’s a tool. No one can or should see the hammer that helped build a house…

      And blaming peer to peer sites for killing it is not the answer. They have been around for over a decade now. Shouldn’t a big industry be able to figure out a new alternative in over 10 years??

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